In September 2001, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wendy Steele founded Impact100 with the goal of building philanthropy in her community. The original notion: Impact100 would consist of at least 100 women members, each annually contributing $1,000. These funds would be pooled and donated as transformational grants of no less than $100,000 to non-profit organisations. By early 2002, Impact100, Inc. had acquired their non-profit status.
They made their first grant of $123,000 to CincySmiles, a dental clinic serving the homeless population of Cincinnati. In January 2003, People Magazine published a story about Impact100, highlighting their success in effective local philanthropy. After the article was featured, Wendy’s model began to flourish across the country and into Australia and the United Kingdom.
Now, more than 20 years later there are more than 60 chapters worldwide and more than $US105 million has been donated to local community groups.
Wakatipu is the first chapter in New Zealand.